ENTERING AND LEAVING ECUADOR: Ecuadorian authorities require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of your arrival in Ecuador. Visas are not required for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Tourist cards are prepared by your arriving airline. At the time of writing, there is a $40.80 departure tax in Ecuador, but this is rolled into the air ticket price by most airlines.
MAPS AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Ecuador in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Ecuador here.
HEALTH: Ecuador is quite clean, and we will be exploring places that have been visited by Americans for some time. We suggest the following precautions:
Malaria is present in the Amazon basin of eastern Ecuador, so a malaria prophylaxis is important. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) currently recommend one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam®), doxycycline, or Malarone® for use in Ecuador. Please check with your physician to determine which type is best for you. Certification of yellow fever vaccination is not required unless you are entering Ecuador from a country where yellow fever is present (check with your local public health agency or the Centers for Disease Control for this list); if you are entering Ecuador from the US, this is not required. The CDC, however, is currently recommending yellow fever vaccination for travelers to Ecuador who plan to be outside of urban areas. You can review the latest CDC advisories here.
Biting insects are occasionally a minor problem, but some areas are delightfully insect free.
Please note that La Selva is an isolated lodge. There are no local doctors, and emergency evacuation procedures are certain to be slow and expensive. Please be sure you are in good physical condition before scheduling this trip.
PACE OF THE TOUR: The condition of the trails at La Selva varies. Some are flat, others are hilly. When they’re dry, the trails are not difficult, although some of the boardwalks and bridges can be a little hazardous. When the trails are wet, they can be difficult. January is the driest period here, and we hope for a visit with minimal rain. If we have a rainy period, the trails will be muddy and hill climbing will be difficult for the less agile. Please be prepared.
We use small canoes almost every day. It can be a bit awkward getting into or out of the canoes, depending on water levels. It may be useful to bring an inflatable cushion to sit on in the canoes. The seats have backs but are made of wood.
ELEVATION: Quito is at about 9,000 feet in elevation. The sites we visit range from 1,000 feet to 10,500 feet. We go up as far as 10,500 feet on our day trip out of Quito on Day 2.
CLIMATE: Quito has been called the city of eternal spring, and the climate there is crisp and cool with chilly nights and pleasantly warm days. Rain is possible, but sunburn is more likely. At La Selva in the Amazonian lowlands, we can expect occasional rain and warm, muggy days with cooler nights.
ACCOMMODATION: La Selva is a simple jungle lodge. The cabins are constructed of bamboo and have screened windows. Each has two single beds with good mattresses and mosquito netting. Each has its own bathroom with sink, flush toilet, and shower. Water is pumped directly from the lake into the cabins and is heated by electricity in the bathroom. The cabins are all separate but are connected by a common walkway to the bar and dining room. The entire lodge is undergoing renovations, and several cabins now include separate bedrooms, a hot tub on the patio, tiled floors and multiple sinks in the bathroom. Deluxe suites may be available upon request beginning in 2013 (at a surcharged rate). We should note that occasionally spiders, crickets, mice or tree frogs find their way into the bathrooms. If something really neat shows up in your cabin, please alert your leader!!
FOOD: Meals at La Selva are wonderful, with lots of vegetables, great soups every night, various salads, and splendid deserts to accompany the fresh meat, chicken, and fish. Vegetarians are easily accommodated, but please let us know your preference in advance.
SMOKING: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions in the “About Our Tours” section of the WINGS website. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to La Selva will be sent to each registrant on receipt of booking. Final Information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Updated: June 2013